Saturday, August 14, 2010

Etiquette of Fasting

Etiquette and Sunnah of Fasting

Some aspects are obligatory (wajib) and others are recommended (mustahabb).

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allah, the Lord of the al-'Alamin. Peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

1. Ensure to eat and drink something at sahur, and delay it until just before the adzan of Fajar.

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Have sahur, for in sahur there is blessing (barakah).” [Al-Bukhari, Fath, 4/139)] The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) also said, “Sahur is blessed meal, and it involves being different from the people of the Book. What a good sahur for the believer is dates.” [Abu Dawud, no. 2345; Sahih al-Targhib, 1/448]

2. Not delaying the Iftar.

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “The people will be fine so long as they do not delay Iftar.”[Al-Bukhari, Fath, 4/198)]

3. Breaking ones fast according to the Sunnah.

It is described in the hadith narrated by Anas bin Mālik (radiallāhu`anhu):  “The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if fresh dates were not available, he would eat (dried) dates; if dried dates were not available, he would have a few sips of water.”   [Al-Tirmidzi, 3/79 and others; He said it is a gharib hasan hadith. Classified as sahih in al-Irwa’, no. 922)]

4. After Iftar, reciting the words reported in the hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallāhu`anhum), according to which the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), when he broke his fast.

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)   would say:  “Dhahaba al-zama’, wa’abtallat al-‘uruq, wa thabat al-ajru insha Allāh (Thirst is gone, veins are flowing again, and the reward is certain, insya Allāh).”   [Reported by Abu Dawud, 2/765; its isnad was classified as hasan by al-Daraqutni, 2/185)]

5. Keeping away from sin.

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “When any of you is fasting, let him not commit sin…” [Al-Bukhari, al-Fath, (1904)]

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not stop speaking falsehood and acting in accordance with it, Allāh has no need of him giving up his food and drink.”[Al-Bukhari, al-Fath, (1903)]

The person who is fasting should avoid all kinds of harām actions, such as backbiting, obscenity and lies; otherwise his reward may all be lost.

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “It may be that a fasting person gets nothing from his fast except hunger.” (Reported by Ibn Majah, 1/539; Sahih al-Targhib, 1/453).

Among the things that can destroy one’s Hasanat (good deeds) and bring sayi’at (bad deeds) is allowing oneself to be distracted by quiz-shows, soap operas, movies and sports matches, idle gatherings, hanging about in the streets with evil people and time-wasters, driving around for no purpose, and crowding the streets and sidewalks. While it is the months of tahajjud, dzikir and worship, for many people, becomes the month of sleeping in the day so as to avoid feeling hungry, thus missing their prayers and the opportunity to pray them in congregation, then spending their nights in entertainment and indulging their desires. Some people even greet the month with feelings of annoyance, thinking only of the pleasures they will miss out on. In Ramadhan, some people would go for holiday! Even the mosques are not free from such evils as the appearance of women wearing makeup and perfume, and even the Sacred House of Allāh is not free of these ills. Some people make the month a season for begging, even though they are not in need. Some of them entertain themselves with dangerous fireworks and the like, and some of them waste their time in the markets, wandering around the shops, or sewing and following fashions. Some of them put new products and new styles in their stores during the last ten days of the month, to keep people away from earning rewards and Hasanat.

Not allowing oneself to be provoked.

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.’”[Al-Bukhari and others, Al-Fath, (1894)]

One reason for this is to remind him, and another reason is to remind his adversary. But anyone who looks at the conduct of many of those who fast will see something quite different. It is essential to exercise self-control and be calm, but we see the opposite among crazy drivers who speed up when they hear the adzān for Maghrib.

6. Not eating too much.

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “The son of Adam fills no worse vessel than his stomach.” (Reported by al-Tirmidzi, no. 2380; he said, this is a hasan sahih hadith).

The wise person wants to eat to live, not live to eat. The best type of food is that which is there to be used, not that which is there to be served. But people indulge in making all kinds of food (during Ramadan) and treating food preparation as a virtual art form, so that housewives and servants spend all their time on making food, and this keeps them away from worship, and people spend far more on food during Ramadhan than they do ordinarily. Thus the month becomes the month of indigestion, fatness and gastric illness, where people eat like gluttons and drink like thirsty camels, and when they get up to offer Solātul Tarawīh, they do so reluctantly, and some of them leave after the first two raka’at.

7. Being generous by sharing knowledge, giving charity, using one’s position of authority or physical strength to help others, and having a good attitude.

Ibn ‘Abbās (radiallāhu`anhu) reported  said:  “The Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was the most generous of people [in doing good], and he was most generous of all in Ramadhan when Jibreel met with him, and he used to meet him every night in Ramadhan and teach him the Qur’an. The Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was more generous in doing good than a blowing wind.” [Al-Bukhari, al-Fath, (6)].

Combining fasting with feeding the poor is one of the means of reaching Paradise.

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “In Paradise there are rooms whose outside can be seen from the inside and the inside can be seen from the outside. Allāh has prepared them for those who feed the poor, who are gentle in speech, who fast regularly and who pray at night when people are asleep.” (Reported by Ahmad 5/343; Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 2137. Al-Albāni said in his footnote, its isnad is hasan because of other corroborating reports).

The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.”(Reported by al-Tirmidzi, 3/171; Sahih al-Targhib, 1/451).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (rahimahullāh) said: “What is meant is that he should feed him until he is satisfied.”[Al-Ikhtiyarat al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 109)]

A number of the Salaf (radiallāhu`anhum) preferred the poor over themselves when feeding them at the time of Iftar. Among these were ‘Abdallāh ibn ‘Umar(radiallāhu`anhu), Malik ibn Deenaar, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullāh)and others. ‘Abdallāh ibn ‘Umar would(radiallāhu`anhu) not break his fast unless there were orphans and poor people with him.

[Excerpted from IslamQ&A]

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